How to truly MOVE your audience. By LISA NICHOLS


This speech was delivered by Lisa Nichols; a  remarkable transformational coach as well as media personality and corporate CEO, whose global platform has reached and served nearly 80 million people, during the Awesomeness Fest organised by Mindvalley.

Speech Transcript

How are you guys doing?

It ain’t over yet. There’s more to come. This conversation that we get to have this afternoon is very exciting to me. I’ve spent the last 20 years building my speaking career, and I’ve had some pretty amazing opportunities. And a lot of it came because I have a talent at speaking, but a lot of it also came because I learned how to be a CEO.

I believe I was born to speak. I came out of my mother giving instructions. I’m sure I told the doctor, “Slap me on the left, Doc, not the right.” I’m sure I was inspiring people from day one. In high school, I was of the captain of the track team, I was the head of the cheerleading squad, I was editor of yearbook, I was in student council. I was always running my mouth giving instructions and inspiring people. But I wasn’t born to be a CEO. That part was hard. I get why most businesses go out of business, not because of the talent, but because of the business infrastructure. But then throughout my career, I learned that as a speaker, it was a bigger responsibility than just standing on the stage.

What was speaking to make a difference, what does it mean to do that, and how can I be responsible for that charge? So for any of you who are in any business, you are in the business of speaking. If you have to deal with people in your life, you are in the business of speaking. If you have children, if you have partners, if you have family, you are in the business of speaking.

And so I wanna take some time to do something I’ve done very rarely, and that’s to talk about the context of speaking, and how to use that art to not only enhance your life, but to enhance your business. How do you do that? And the reason why I’m doing it these days is because last year, right here at A-Fest, and some of you heard the story on my bonus day, a gentleman by the name of Mykola from Russia came to me in my room, we had our private little session in the room that I do at times.

And after everyone kind of was leaving, he just sat there, and he was just giving me this blank stare. And I was like, “Dude, it’s over.” So it was awkward, and I finally looked at him and said, “Can I help you?” “I want you to teach me how to tell stories.” I was like, “Tell stories. That’s not on the menu of what I offer.” “I don’t care.” I was like, “But really, I don’t teach you how to tell stories.” “That’s what I want from you.” I said, “I can teach you how to grow your business.” “I don’t need that. I am the top speaker in Russia. I want to tell stories. I want to move people the way you move people. I sat on the front row at Jack Canfield.”

I do horrible accents, so that is Russian. And if I told you a story from Taipei, that would be my Chinese. If I told you a story from the Caribbean, that would be my Caribbean. Get over it. That’s me. That’s it.

And he said, “I was at Jack Canfield’s event. I sat on the front row. And from the moment you opened your mouth, you captivated me. I know how to make money, but I don’t captivate people like that. I want that.” I said…I’m kinda stuck, I’m slow, “Dude, it’s not on my menu.” “I don’t care.”

So I go in the other room with Allison. I was like, “Allison, this guy’s out here asking for something that I don’t even know what he wants.” She goes, “What?” “He wants me to tell stories.” “Well, tell him some stories,” so I go back out. I go, “How do you want this delivered to you?”

Your customer, by the way, will tell you what they need. Hello, I told my bonus day folk, “You are not the expert of your industry. Your customer is the expert. You’re the service provider.”Yeah, you might wanna write that down. You thought you were the expert.

So my expert’s telling me, “I need you to spend a day with me.” I was like, “A whole day?” A whole day, so we call that a VIP day. We do VIP days at my company where we spend six, seven hours with a client, and we go over every aspect of their business. I said, “Oh, in seven hours, we can videotape it and go over everything.” “No, just stories.” I said, “You want me to tell you stories for seven hours?” “Yes, I do.” I was like, “How many of these days do you want?” “I want two.”

“You want them back-to-back?”


I go away, I do it, I go, I apply it, I come back, you give me another.”


So out of that, he comes, he flies from Russia, he comes over, and all day long, he tells a story. And then I tell him back his same story, but I add layers, and I add color. He tells a story, I show the story. He tells the story, I show the story. There’s a distinct difference. And I’m gonna go through that with you guys.

Would you guys like me to do that for you guys today?  And for the very first time publicly, I’m gonna unwrap what I do because you think, “Whoo, it’s magic,” and then you drink the Lisa Kool-Aid. Right? Well, while a lot of it’s talent, there’s some key and distinctive techniques that you can learn.

Now, I’m teaching you just a smidget of what we’re doing for three days in my upcoming three-day training, and then what I do for a year with my global leaders, but I wanna give you a smidget of that right now. And so he comes over, and he tells a story about his father, and then I tell him back the story about his father. And he’s bawling, and his wife is crying, and my assistant’s crying, and I’m crying while I’m telling his story.

And he goes, “How did you do that?” I said, “You told the story, I showed the story.” There’s a distinct difference, and it translates everything you do in your life. Everywhere, you can apply this. How did I learn this technique? My first two books were “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. And “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” they have a criteria, if it doesn’t make you laugh, cry, or give you goosebumps, it ain’t getting in the book.

Do you know how many stories you have to read to get to that level of story? If it doesn’t rank 9 out of 10, they will throw the story out. I read 5,332 stories to find 279 stories.

So by the time I ended that journey, I was pretty good at a “show me” story on paper. Then I begin to hone my skills to show the story verbally as well. So that’s what we’re going to do? Now, I’m teaching speakers…How many people, your business requires you to, actively in some form, be a speaker? Raise your hand. Keep your hands up high. Okay.

This is your juice right now. Right now, this is the juice. Now, you got many great nuggets throughout the week, but this thing right here…You know, I always said, “I wish someone who had advanced far in the industry would take me behind their black curtain.” You know what I mean? This is behind the black curtain with me for a moment.

My son, when he was two years old, he could break a toy in 14 days, and so I would only spend $14 on every toy. Fourteen days, $14, sound good to me. I was in KB Toys…Anyone familiar with KB Toys? I was in KB Toys, and I’m in the toy area, and I’m looking at the $14 toys. My son breaks it in 14 days, $14 is the budget.

And as I’m looking at the toy, $14 toy, the spirit just said, “Go down the aisle. Slide down the aisle,” and I said, “Okay.” I slid down the aisle, and in front of me was Mattel toys, Tonka toy $44.99. I said, “Oh, God, you got the wrong girl. My budget is $14.99.” I went back to the $14.99 toy, I grabbed it, walked over to the sales counter, paid for it, went to walk out the door at the Crenshaw Mall.

And as my foot crossed the threshold, God said, “I said…” Has anyone ever heard instructions and then went against the instructions and then…Raise your hands up high. Not shy. I wanna make sure I’m in the right room. Okay. Right. So I’m at the center of the threshold arguing with God, “God, I ain’t got that kind of money. You know what kind of budget I’m on?” I’m just looking real crazy because I argue out loud with God. God said, “I said, go back and get the other toy,” so I walked back in with an attitude. You know, have you ever followed God, mad? Whatever, I’m gonna do it, but I’m gonna show you.

I exchanged it. I go get the $44.99 toy, and I’m like, “Now, we really gotta eat beanies and weenies for the next two weeks, more beanies than weenies.” I buy it, I go home.

First thing I said to Jelani is, “Be careful. This toy cost me…,” and before I can get it out my mouth, he picked it up and dropped it, picked it up again and dropped it, because he did that with every toy, picked it up and dropped it.

He did it with every toy until it ended up in the toy cemetery.

Picked it up, dropped it, but every time he dropped it, the toy because it was a Tonka truck…Guys, you guys know about the Tonka trucks? I didn’t even know they existed. They’re, like, apparently, pretty amazing. Every time he dropped it, the Tonka truck would go “Mmmm.” I’d just go, not fast, never fast.

It wasn’t a speed car, but it would just go “Mmm.” He’d pick it up, drop it again, “Mmm.” Three days in, pick it up, drop it. “Mmm.” Seven days in, pick it up, drop it. “Mmm.” Ten days in, pick it up, drop it.”Mmmm.” Fourteen days, I’m like,”Mm-hmm.”

Watch this.

Fourteen days, picked it up, dropped it. “Mmm.”

Twenty-one days, pick it up, drop it. “Mmm.”

Thirty days, pick it up, drop it. “Mmm.”

Thirty-five days, pick it up, drop it. “Mmm.”

On the 40th day, I picked it up. I was like, “It just needs a higher height. I got this. I got this.”I picked it up, and I dropped it, and it went “Mmm.” Sixty days, picked it up, dropped it. “Mmm.”Eighty days, picked it up, dropped it.”Mmm.” At 120 days, picked it up, dropped it. “Mmm.”

Six months, picked it up, dropped it. “Mmm.” I’m like, “What is up with that toy?” A year and a half later, it became my son’s Linus blanket toy. I take him to child care, they try to take it. I said, “I advise you to not touch that child’s toy. They’re inseparable.”A year and a half, picked it up, dropped it. “Mmm.”

Jelani outgrows the toy. He doesn’t want it anymore. He gives it to my nephew, Jamil, and he gives it to Jamil with explicit instructions on the application. So, Jamil, age 2, first thing he does, is what you guys?

Audience: Pick it up.

Lisa: Pick it up and drop it and what does it do? “Mmm.” Six months, pick it up, drop it, what does it do? “Mmm.” Eight months, pick it up, drop it, what does it do? “Mmm.” Twelve months, pick it up, drop it. Fourteen months, pick it up, drop it. Two years with Jamil. And now, it’s kind of shaking. It’s like “mmm-mmm.” You know, it got a little tweak on it, but it’s still moving. It never sped up, but it didn’t slow down.

Jamil added another twist to it. Jamil took it outside to the front porch and would drop it down the stairs, and it’d go “ba-boomp, ba-boomp, ba-boomp, ba-boomp, ba-boomp,” get to the bottom and go what? “Mmm.”

My son and Jamil both outgrew the toy. And they decided, my son decided, “Let’s give it to Goodwill, Mommy.” Okay. Cool. We go to Goodwill, we’re about to walk in, and he goes, “Wait, Mom.” One last time, he picks it up and what? Drops it. And what does it do going into Goodwill? “Mmm.” And that was the last I saw of the toy.

I was so surprised that that toy outlasted my son. I was so surprised that with everything that my son put that toy through, it was still moving.

But Mattel, they weren’t. When Mattel built that toy, when they had that toy on the assembly line, they said, “This toy is going to meet Jelani Nichols. And when it meets Jelani Nichols, it’s going to be picked up and dropped a few times, so we need to give this toy some extra girth, we need to give this toy some extra strength,we need to put this toy together extra solid, we need to make sure this toy does not break under pressure.” Yes, yes?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: Now, whatever your faith is, I believe somebody came for this. This is the cherry on top of the cake you didn’t know you were gonna get before you left. I believe that when God put you together on that assembly line called creation, He said, She said, “She’s gonna go through something. He’s gonna be picked up and dropped a few times. She’s gonna be picked up and dropped a few times. He’s gonna experience betrayal. Let me give him some extra tenacity.

She’s gonna experience hurt and abandonment. Let me give her some faith and forgiveness. He’s gonna experience a breakdown and some financial challenges. Let me give him some determination. She’s gonna experience a health issue or a family issue. Let me give her the spirit of resiliency.” He said, “Something’s gonna happen. Let me make sure that every time she’s picked up, every time he’s picked up and dropped, that he still goes, she still goes…” What? “Mmm.”

Now, you may not go fast, but you won’t ever stop moving. So just like that Tonka truck, just like my son, so no matter how many times he picked it up and dropped it, no matter how many times it tumbled down those stairs, it always still moved. See, sometimes you question, “Can you keep going?” You forget that you was built like the Tonka truck. You forget that you’re that Tonka truck. There’s that Tonka, Tonka truck.

So the next time something is going challenging, I want you to say this, “It’s Tonka, Tonka, Tonka time.” Say it with me, it’s…

Audience: Tonka.

Lisa: …Tonka. A little louder. Come on, y’all. It’s Tonka, Tonka, Tonka…

Audience: Tonka, Tonka, Tonka…

LIsa: Turn to somebody on the side of you and say, “It’s Tonka time.”

Audience: It’s Tonka time.

Lisa: It’s Tonka time.

How many guys in your life, you know whether things are going great, and they need to get better, or whether you need to clean some stuff up in your life, it’s Tonka time. Raise your hand. One hand up. Two hands, if you know it’s really you. Two hands. And two hands and stand up if you ready for Tonka time. Stand up. Two hands and stand up if you ready for Tonka time. I just wanna check the pulse of the room. I wanna make sure I’m in the right space. Okay. Great. All right. Great, great, great. Have a seat.

So in sharing that story, there are some things that I did. Number one, I showed you my son picking it up and dropping it. I showed you walking across the threshold of the store. I showed you when I slid down the aisle and came back. I believe, a lot of times, as a speaker, we stay too contained. I don’t know what we’re protecting. Show me your story like I’m looking at a movie. We see in pictures, and I have to take your words and make them a picture.

What if you made them a picture for me, now, I’m just with you. When you speak, there’s a cadence and a rhythm to your voice that has to be able to have verbal highlights, go up and go down. Show me a point that’s more important. Slow down and make me hold on for a minute and wait with you.

Be okay with silence in the moment so that you can catch your breath, I can catch my breath. And the next thing that you hear, you’re listening to every single word. Sometimes, we think more words, the more we give is better.Sometimes, I need you to let me breathe as your listener.

When you speed up, only go 10 seconds and then slow me back down. And if you wanna make a point, and there’s a rhythm, then show me the rhythm, show me the rhythm, show me the rhythm. Everything I did showed you the rhythm, so you can see it. And then when you bring your point home, and it’s important to hold onto the words, then you be still, so that I’m not distracted by your movement, but I only get your words.

Speaking is an art, and it’s an art that many people can learn. But if you decide to open your mouth, then you better have something to say because then you’re just wasting our time. And you determine what you have to say based on what we, the people listening need, not based on what you think is wise to say.

Breathe. You guys holding your breath. Okay? Okay, Lisa.

It’s important to integrate humor. I think I put some slides together. Allison, I’ll never think to click it. They’re real simple. How do I know I’m a speaker? How many of you guys have ever asked the question, “How do I know I’m a speaker?” And raise your hands if that’s you. How do I know I’m a speaker?

Next question. What kind of speaker am I? How many of you guys would like to know what kind of speaker you are? What’s the best thing? I’m gonna give you some insight right now that most speakers don’t even discuss and talk about. I believe that there are four types of speakers.

You might want to write this down. Now, I’m gonna run through a lot of this very fast, but we teach this in two formats for speakers, authors, and trainers, coaches, and consultants, and authors. We have an intensive year-long program. We go through it in more depth. I’ll tell you about that later.

And then for those of you who just wanna polish your speaking skill and really jump into it, we have a three-day intensive that we teach virtually, and we teach live. And I’ll teach more here, so I’m gonna go fast. But no worries if something sparks, you want more, I’ll show you how you can get more, and how we can really study together, and I can teach you and help guide your speaking career and your speaking impact.

What kind of speaker you are. There are four types of speakers, I believe. There’s an information speaker, informational speaker.

An informational speaker is designed and they’re in business just to give information. They do not care if you are inspired. That’s that traffic schoolteacher.

I don’t care if you like me. I don’t care if you get value. You do your eight hours and keep it going, keep it pushing. That’s an informational speaker.

Unfortunately, a lot of our teachers in school become informational speakers. That teacher that you remember, it’s because they were an inspirational speaker. That teacher that you remember, it’s because they were a motivational. They were still teaching you, but they inspired you as well. So informational speaker, just in the business to deliver information.

The second level is a motivational speaker, someone who’s…And now, this is the area that everyone gets grouped in. Everyone calls me a motivational speaker, and that’s okay. That’s because they don’t know all the different choices. Without it, you just dump everything into one big box. A motivational speaker, that’s the one who gives you external motivation. It’s very necessary. They get you on fire, you’re charged. There’s a lot of energy, you’re going. Very, very necessary.

They can jump-start you. The long-term impact is a little less likely, but they can jump-start you. If you plug into something else real fast, you can keep it going. If you don’t, it’s gonna kind of fizzle out. How many of us have been motivated and then it fizzled out? Right.

Like, what happened? That workshop didn’t work. No, it did. You went home on fire. That was the experience. That was what it was for.

The third type of speaker is an inspirational speaker. An inspirational speaker is designed to go inside your soul and stir it up and cause you to wanna be a better person. That’s an inspirational speaker. They’re designed to just go in and to move you, and to inspire you, and to create that possibility in you. Very necessary, very beautiful.

For years, that was the limit of where I wanted to be. I wanna be an inspirational speaker.

And then I was introduced to transformational speaker. A transformational speaker…Be very clear. They will have you say the thing you don’t wanna say and do the thing you don’t wanna do. So you can be the man or the woman you’ve always known yourself to be. The road less traveled.

Now, to be a transformational speaker, you have to stay in transformation yourself, so most transformational speakers are really struggling with that because you have to constantly be willing to confront what you don’t wanna see about yourself in your genius.

Does that make sense, you guys? I live to transform lives and businesses.I live. I come out and speak just to find out who can I coach, whose life can I help transform, whose business, whose family? That’s what I love to do. I speak in order to get to the coaching and the training.

So a transformational speaker is someone who’s committed to change. They’re the person who’s gonna go down to the darkest places with you and walk you out, so you’re not alone, and that normally comes in the form of a coach. It’s hard to do it in speaking because it takes more time.

You can educate me fast, you can motivate me fast, you can inspire me fast, but you cannot Google download transformation. Sorry. Does that make sense, you guys? Yes, yes?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: Yes, yes?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: Yes, yes?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: Is this good information for you guys?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: We look at speakers all the time, and they’re just kind of all glossy and shiny and beautiful. I thought I’m gonna break it down for you based on what I know. I’ve never taught this before. I’m giving you guys a sneak peek into the training I’m teaching for the very first time in December because so many people like Mykola, asked for it.

Mykola came back to me after two sessions with me, and his speaking, he said if he had rated it, he thought he was a strong speaker before, but now, he realized, he goes, “I don’t think I was a three, and now I’m a seven.”

Because he integrated all these layers and these flows, and you speak in layers and you speak in colors, in your tones, in your voicing, your movement, and your cadence, and your body language, all of it adds the layers to your message. And I’m not saying move all around.

It’s not about moving a lot. It’s not about that. You can stay completely still and rivet a room beyond their soul, just because you were willing to go there with them. As a powerful speaker, you have to be willing to take a risk.

If you want your audience to put some skin in, you put some skin in first. They don’t owe you anything. Yes, yes?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: Now, I know it sounds intense, and I know this is not rah-rah, but that wasn’t my intention when I came up. I thought if I can give you something, I’m gonna give you some meat and potatoes that you can run away with today and make a difference in someone’s lives if you think you wanna speak to make a difference. Yes, yes, you guys?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: So how do I shape my message? Oh, I love this. How do I shape my message? Most people come to me and say, “I don’t have a story.” I say, “Oh, no, no, no. You have plenty of stories. You have incidents in your life when you wanted to stop.

You have incidents in your life where you were challenged to keep moving forward, and you have incidents in your life where you kept going, and it made a difference in your life.You just haven’t learned how to trail those together and make the story. Your stories are a culmination of incidents that you attach together.”

I didn’t know when my son was picking up the toy and dropping it, that two years later when he gave it to Jamil, and then when he went to…I had no idea that that was a story. The last part of that I created to tie into the first part of the story to give you my message.

Does that make sense? So what’s your story? Your story is around your message. Your message is around your being. Ask yourself this question right now, “What difference do I want to leave on this planet? What do I want my life to say? What do I want my life to say?” So right now, I want you to turn to a partner, grab a partner, turn to a partner, and you’re gonna interview your partner.Raise your hand if you need a partner.

You’re gonna interview your partner. I’m gonna facilitate the interview. So if you need a partner, raise your hand, and find someone. If you need a partner, raise your hand, and find someone else with their hand in the air. A. You have your back closest to that wall. B. Your back is closest to that wall. A, you’re gonna ask B first.

A, you’re gonna ask B first, “What do you want your life statement to say? What do you want your life statement to say?” And what that means is when all we have of you is your memory, when every part of your physical essence is no longer with us, what do you want to say your life statement gave? What do you want to say you contributed to this planet while you were breathing with us?

What do you want your life to have said, to have done, to have produced? Whatever. What do you want that to be? A ask B. You’re only gonna talk for about a minute and 10 seconds. Ready and go. And stop. Back in the other direction. B ask A, “What do you want your life message to say? What legacy do you want to leave? What’s that fingerprint that you wanna put on the world because you were here.” It impacts your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors. It impacts the strangers. It impacts people whose name you’ll never remember, but because they crossed your path, they had that experience.B ask A. Ready, begin.And stop.

Do you know that the number one reason for breakdown in relationships personally and professionally lives inside the communication?Yes, yes?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: It’s in either what was said incorrectly, or wrong, or hurtful, or what wasn’t said. Yes, yes?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: Language is the link between you and everything you need. Language is the link between you and everything you need.I wish I had another two hours with you. I would show it and demonstrate it over and over and over again with several of you in this audience. How I can help you change your language. Anyone can who knows how to do it. Change your language to get a different result.

Promise you, so much lives in your language. So much lives in your speaking. So much lives in the said and the unsaid.

Next question. A ask B, “What do you know you need to learn to be a more powerful speaker? What do you know you need to get over? “One of the best things you can know is what you don’t know. If we just put our ego aside, if we bless our Shego and say, “Shego, you can’t fit with me right now.”

I need to know that I don’t know this. Vishen talked about his business exploding because he went to Master Minds. I tell people, “My business has been explosive over the last seven years because I was clear on what I didn’t know.” And I’ll even go up to my coaches and say, “Can you ask the question that I don’t even know I need to ask?” And they would, and I kept a coach next to me for 10 years. And as a result, I have an international multimillion dollar business because I knew I didn’t know it. So what do you know you don’t know about speaking?

What do you know so that it can be invited in? In order to be a more powerful speaker, what do you need to learn? That’s the question. A ask B. Ready, begin. In order to be a more powerful speaker, what do you need to learn? And stop. Go back in the other direction.

“In order to be a more powerful speaker, this is what I need to know. This is what I need to learn. This is what I don’t know.” Ready, go, in the other direction. And wrap up. Wrap up. Wrap up.

I need a couple of people to raise your hands and tell me, what did you say that you don’t know that you need help with? What was some of that? Right here, nice and loud. We’re gonna have a microphone come to you. And then after that, the gentleman in the black shirt stand up.

What don’t you know? Real fast.

Female: I know that I’m a transformational speaker, but that takes too long. And what I need to work on is figuring out what’s the most core message and delivering that, so it’s more motivational and inspirational. And I do all the acting out and all that, you know, with the speaking, but so that theythen will want to participate in the transformational programs that I do.

Lisa: So you wanna learn how to inspire and move people to transformation?

Female: Yup.

Lisa: Okay. Great. Two.

Male: How do you remember what you’re gonna say, and what do you do when you blank out?

Lisa: How do you know…

Male: How do you remember what you’re gonna say, and what do you do when you blank out?

Lisa: Okay. Great. Three, right here. This gentleman right here in the black, and then right behind him in the orange, and then the young lady right on the side.

Male: Integrating an offer. Integrating an offer and a close in the big picture.

Lisa: Oh, I love it. One of my favorites. How do you integrate an offer and not puke on the audience? Yes, yes? Audience: Yes.

Lisa: Invite me, don’t puke on me, right?

How do you have a loving invitation to action that makes me feel inspired to choose and not feel like if I don’t do it, I’m wrong. I love it. Sir, right here, stand up.

Male: Yes, to become more authentic and genuine-self while speaking, so people can connect with you and realize that you are a human being just like them, not trying to sell them something.

Lisa: Absolutely. More connectivity. And right on the end right here, right on the end. Stand up, sweetheart. The lady right there standing there. Thank you so much.That’s the last person.

Female: I coach people in the area of health and wellness, so I have lots of information to provide, but I wanna learn how to take that information and deliver it in a transformational way.

Lisa: Okay. Great. These are all super questions, and I’m gonna answer as many as I can in the very limited time I have left. And here’s what I commit to do. If you’re interested, tonight, when we’re at…whatever new fun excursion we’re gonna go to, if you guys wanna sit around, I’ll finish answering these if we run out of time. Does that sound good?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: We’ll just keep going and going and going and going, keep on going to the break of dawn. Okay. Not…All right. So very important, very critical questions, very necessary. How do I shape it, and how do I know? How do I move to…How do I remember when I’ve lost a message? How do I do that? How do I recover?

How do I invite people to take action and feel good about it and then really get them to action. And how do I get people from inspiration to transformation? How do I move them into radical action? I’m gonna share a story with you. We’ll go into a little more of that because the stories kind of drive into messages as well.

Talked about my swimming. I swam competition for seven, eight years, and though I was a top track runner, swimming had a different experience. In swimming, I had a problem. I always came in dead last. Say dead last.

Audience: Dead last.

Lisa: Say dead last.

Audience: Dead last.

Lisa: No, say it like you’d say it if I wasn’t around. Dead last.

Audience: Dead last.

Lisa: She came in dead last. You know how you’d drag that out if I wasn’t here, right?And so I would always get an honorable mention. He’s laughing because he knows what an honorable mention means.

An honorable mention is a ribbon that says what? Thank you for showing up. You didn’t do diddly-squat, but we don’t want you to leave here empty-handed. Y’all come back now, you hear?

Now, I’ma share the story with you because stories allow you to deliver your message inside of a story. And when you have a story and you know your story, you’re less likely to move away from it. You just need to know the point you want to land, and your story has to always drive to the point that you’re teaching, so use appropriate stories.

So I have a list of stories. I’ve got about 13, 14 stories, and I choose a story based on what message I wanna land. So ever if you go off-base, go to that story because stories teach people without pointing at them. It’s just a story, but it’s not pointed at them. Okay?

You can come out of a story, and you can drive someone to action by coming out of a story as well. You can teach transformation inside your story. I believe one of the first things I do with my students is I ask them, and I’ll help them to identify their core story and their core message to make sure it fits with the story that they wanna tell to the world.

So I wanna quit this particular day. I come in dead last. We’d had 15 swim meets, 13 swim meets that year, and I’d come in dead last every single one.

They had eight lanes, I come in eighth. They had six lanes, I come in sixth. They had 10 lanes, I came in 10th. And so this particular day, I was tired. Anybody been tired? One hand up or two hands up. Come on, you guys. This is an interactive process. Thank you very much.

You’ve been tired. Even if you love doing something, it’s still getting tired, like, I’m tired of going uphill, I’m tired of pushing. I love this, but it feels like this isn’t gonna feel good if I keep doing it like this.

Anybody been there? Exactly.

I was there with swimming. Now, here’s where…God, I’ve never done this before. I’m telling you the story, and then I’m telling you about the story. Are you guys getting that?

Okay. So I’m weaving the message inside the story so that at the end, I don’t have to teach a whole lesson because the story is doing it, too. You guys get that?

So I was tired. I went to my grandmother’s house. My grandmother was the safest place on the planet for me. And I say, “Grandma, look, I’m tired. I keep playing full-out, and I’m getting nothing in return. I feel like I’m getting nothing in return.” “I keep showing up, and it feels like no one even notices that I show up. I keep doing my best, and no one even says, ‘Thank you.'”

Anybody feel like that? “I’m playing.Even though I came in dead last, Grandma, I played full-out.” I said, “Grandma, so I decided to quit.”

She said, “Quit?”

I said, “Quit, Ma’am?”

Like, I don’t know how you say it. She said, “Baby, come sit right here.” She said, “Grandma gotta tell you something.” She said, “You only 15, so you might not know this.” She said, “But you come from a long line of winners. And quitters never win and winners never quit.” She said, “Your great-great-grandparents, they had it hard, Baby.

See, they worked sunup to sundown with blistering toes and blistering fingers in the sun, and they had heatstrokes. And they raised other people’s children, and they wanted to quit, but they didn’t. That’s what you come from, Baby.”

“And your grandparents, they didn’t have iPods and iPads and cell phones. And they didn’t have any of the amenities that you have and they still made it. And they never passed down their complaints to you, Baby. They just passed down their stories of resiliency. Why? Because quitters never win and winners never quit.”

She said, “So Baby, I know you thought you had the option of quitting, but grandma need to take that option off the table. That’s not in your blood.” She said, “So you go on out there and you swim that swim meet, like you always do. And grandma’s gonna say the same prayer she always says, ‘God, thank you for giving my baby the victory.'”

As a speaker, you gotta be comfortable looking a little crazy on stage. Y’all looking up like God there, right? When I take you with me, you go with me.You go everywhere I go with my words.

She said, “God, thank you for giving my baby the victory before she ever starts the race.”I said, “Grandma, I know you think I got the victory. I know that God thinks I got the victory, but somebody needs to tell the judge.”

When you’re talking about something that’s visceral, hurt, pain, scarcity, lack, you have the option to take them right back up with a moment of laughter and then go right back down. You can still go back down to the hurt, but if you take me too low, that’s gonna take that much more time to take me back out.

Have you ever felt like you were sitting in the audience, someone dumped on you, and then let you go. And you just didn’t feel like you came all the way back up. They probably didn’t do it intentionally, but they didn’t spend as much time in the high that they spent in that deep low or the deep low was so deep that they needed to go there and come right back out and spend extra time up here, so you can level-out or be higher than you were.

Does that make sense, you guys? So you time your stories and where you tell them.

So my grandmother sent me home, she told me, I was gonna swim, so the next day I show up in the gymnasium to swim, and I saw the worst sight ever. My entire family in the bleachers, “Lisa, hey, girl, we love you.”

There’s only one thing, you guys, worse than coming in dead last, is coming in dead last with your entire family watching, and I know my family. They’ll be at Fourth of July saying, “Girl, she was splashing water everywhere, everywhere.They was out the pool, and she was still splashing. She might wanna put that peach cobbler down.”

And I looked at my family, I’m like, “Why are you guys here? What happened?” “We got your back. We see you, girl.””Why are you here?” Grandma called us and said, “Go help that baby.”

I go over to the judge. I said, “Judge, hi, I’m Lisa. I’m here to swim the freestyle, 50-yard freestyle. Can I just have my honorable mention now?” Judge says, “Oh, I’m sorry. Your heat is already swam.

I said, “Oh, cool.” He said, “Wait, wait, wait. Coach, do you want her to swim with the 17, 18-year-olds?”

I was like, “Oh, no, no, no, no, the 15-year-olds had me for lunch. I’ll be their appetizer. Please don’t.”

My coach said, “Lisa, go on. You need the exercise.” I said, “I don’t need the exercise. I’ve mastered losing. Thank you very much. I have a loser shrine at home.”

So I get in the lane, it’s the worst lane ever, it’s the center lane. If anyone has ever been a swimmer, the worst lane to get in if you know you’re gonna lose is the center lane, because you don’t ever know what happened by the time you hit the wall, but you got a long journey to the edge.

So I get in the center lane. Guys, this is where you guys all get a free look at my cleavage, and I heard everyone has some kind of taste for chocolate.

And I get on deck. I get on deck, and at 15, I noticed immediately the big difference between a 15-year-old girl and a 18-year-old girl.

At 15, I had a blue bathing suit with blue lace. At 18, Speedo. I was like, “That’s not cute.” At 15, I had my hair going back in cornrows with, yes, matching blue barrettes. At 18, Speedo cap. I was like, “That really ain’t cute.” At 15, I had on waterproof mascara. At 18, goggles. I was like, “That’s so not cute.” At 15, I got on deck. “Hi, hi, hi, my name is Lisa. I’m scared. Hi, wait for me. We’ll go to the bathroom together. I’ma take a little while, but wait.” At 18, I was like, “I can do that too, I think.”

You gotta be willing as a speaker to put it all in there, you guys. You gotta jump to the edge of your own stage.

The gun. “Swimmers, to your mark.” I said, “God, I know you said, ‘Have faith of a mustard seed.’ I’m all right with that, but I think we need a watermelon seed today. But you said, ‘If I don’t see it, just have faith in my heart.'”

How many of you guys right now, you know, you gotta buckle down on the faith in your heart about something, love, family, money, relationship, your weight, your life, something. And you gotta know in your heart because there’s no physical evidence of it. Yes, yes? There’s no physical evidence, but you never ever needed physical evidence, anyway.

“Swimmers, to your mark,” “Pow” the gun goes off. I hit the water. Quitters never win, winners never quit. Quitters never win, y’all help me. Quitters never win, winners never quit. Louder.

Quitters never win, winners never quit. Quitters never win, winners never quit.

I drew my right arm back. There was one girl equal to me. I said, “Oh, today, she coming in what? Dead last.”

Quitters never win, winners never quit. Come on, y’all.Quitters never win, winners never quit. I did the flip turn, butt shot. Quitters never win, winners never quit. Quitters never win, winners never quit. Quitters never win, winners never quit.

I hit the wall.

I looked to my left, there was no one there. I looked to my right, there was no one there. I said, you know, that negative chatter that we got in our head? I said, “Dang, I’m so slow. They got out the pool already? I’m getting slower by the hour.” I looked up to my coach with, you know, that tired, I did my best look.

She said, “Lisa, Lisa, look. Lisa, look, look, look,” and I’m like, “What? What?”

“Look behind you,” and I looked behind me, and the first person had just hit the halfway mark. But, you know, our negative chatter, right? To me, that’s why we all need a coach, someone in our life calling us to our greatness.

I looked at my coach, I said, “Coach, was I supposed to swim three laps?” Yes, yes?

Audience: Yes, yes.

Lisa: I said, “Coach, what happened? You want me to go back?” What, what…My coach comes over to me, she’s goes, “What did you do differently? What did you do differently? I’ve trained with you all-year long. What did you do differently?” I was like, “Ah, ah, ah, ah, mascara. My braids. Oh, oh, oh, my grandmother. I wanted to quit yesterday. And my grandmother said that, ‘Quitters never win, and winners never quit,’ so I decided to chant that while I was swimming.”

She said, “What?” “I just chanted something new while I was swimming.”

She said…Pause. Hold them there.

Y’all not even breathing, yet y’all wanna know. Ain’t nobody talking, that’s how you do it. “What were you chanting before?” “I don’t want to lose. I don’t want to lose. I don’t want to lose. I don’t want to lose.”

I said, “What happened, coach? What happened? What the heck happened?”

She said. “Lisa, at age 15, you just broke the 17, 18, national record for freestyle.”

Yes, yes?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: Yes, yes?

Audience: Yes.

Lisa: The only dynamic that changed was the conversation going on in my head. In closing, before I invite my wonderful partner in this experience up on-board, in closing, I once did a visualization that I was driving down the road, and the gentleman who did it said that I got caught in a traffic jam, and in the traffic jam, I was very angst, and I was very uncomfortable, and I was very angry because I didn’t wanna be late, and then I realized that maybe the traffic jam is for me and these people were all going to see me.

How does that make me feel? And he said that when I got to the stadium, I went to the stadium, and there were 10,000 people in the stadium, and those 10,000 people all began to say and yell, “Thank you,” to me out loud before I can ever say a word.

I walked up to the stage, and before I can ever say a word, they started yelling, “Thank you.” I did that experience about 15 years ago, that visualization. Fifteen years ago in the Westin Hotel in Los Angeles, broke.

Five years ago, I’m driving down the 405 Freeway with my girlfriend. I got my top down on my convertible. I got India Arie playing kind of loud, and we just chillin’. I got my shades on and we’re reminiscing because this is my girl that we would eat beanies and weenies together and life has changed since then, and we’re just reminiscing.

And as we’re driving down the road to this speaking engagement I’ve got, I’m not really paying attention because I didn’t really read the details. I was moving so fast on the road 233 days out the year, Oprah, Larry King. I wasn’t reading all the details.

I just knew I had to go somewhere in San Diego. I’m on the 405 Freeway, top down, music up, girlfriend talking, and all of a sudden, the traffic stops.

And I said, “Oh, my God, I got 20 minutes to be there. I gotta be there.” She says, “Lisa, what if this is your traffic jam?” And we both start crying.

Well, I knew it wasn’t my traffic jam, but the thought was good.

And I remember I had that visualization 10 years before at that time. And we drive a little longer, and then it slows down again, slows down some more, slows down some more, and then we come to a stop.

And she said, “I think we in trouble because you got 10 minutes to be on stage, and we’re not moving.” So we waved to the guy in the big white truck, “Excuse me, sir.

Can you let us in front of you?” And he casually waves us over. We get in front of him, and he sticks his head out, and he said, “Yes, because I’m going to see you anyway.”

I start crying now, and all of a sudden, I looked to my right. True story, you guys. I looked to my right, and there’s a girl, two girls in the car, and the girl in the passenger seat, she’s talking to the girl in the driver seat. And all of the sudden, I see when she recognizes me, she goes…And I said, “I read lips, too.”

And then all of the sudden, I looked around, and everyone was kind of looking at me and waving.

And then this woman in this Escalade drives up next to me in this beautiful Escalade, and the window goes down really slow, and she goes, “What time do you go on?”

And I’m crying, “I think as soon as I get there.” “Well, I’m gonna stay behind you because I came to see you anyway.”

No. “I came just to see you,” that’s what she said.

We drove, and then we got to gridlock, there was nowhere to go. And we’re on the off-ramp, and I cannot get there in time. There’s no possible way if I’m gonna sit in this traffic…And as if something divinely opened up from the heavens and came down.

People began to look out their window, and they begin to pull up on the embankment of the off-ramp, one by one and opened a clear road. And as we drove down the road slowly, people yelled out, “Thank you. Thank you for your contribution in “The Secret.” Thank you. You changed my life. Thank you. Thank you. “And when we got to the San Diego Sports Arena, there wasn’t 10,000 people waiting on me, there was 10,500.

So when I tell you whatever you are dreaming is your future waiting for you to take radical action, so it can greet you when you least expect it, and then you can stand in front of one or many, and tell your story. Let me be that example of that. I never thought it would be so, and yet, today, it’s so. So your future, your radical future is waiting on you.

Thank you.


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